Saturday, September 16, 2006


Should war come upon us, are you willing to take up arms and defend, to the death, the Church?

An anxious Roman Catholic asked me this question thrice today, probably in response to the rising levels of Moslem anger toward the Catholic Church due to the Pope's comments.

But I did not know that; I assumed he was speaking of the Crusades.

I mentioned, in jest of course, that if the aim of Crusade was to establish Latin patriarchates throughout the East, I'd join the Moslems and fight off the Latins.

When the current situation was made clear to me, I understood why he asked.

Will I join a Crusade, not for land or glory, but "merely" for the defense of the Church?

Make no mistake, this Orthodox Christian will join his Latin brethren in defense of the Church, should the Saracen sword fall on them.

And then, I remembered the original meaning of Crusade.

They have occupied more and more of the lands of those Christians, and have overcome them in seven battles. They have killed and captured many, and have destroyed the churches and devastated the empire. If you permit them to continue thus for awhile with impurity, the faithful of God will be much more widely attacked by them.

On this account I, or rather the Lord, beseech you as Christ's heralds to publish this everywhere and to persuade all people of whatever rank, foot-soldiers and knights, poor and rich, to carry aid promptly to those Christians and to destroy that vile race from the lands of our friends. I say this to those who are present, it meant also for those who are absent.

Moreover, Christ commands it.

- Pope Urban II, speech at the Council of Clermont, 1095

The Moslems have killed and captured many, and have destroyed the churches, said Pope Urban. He could have been speaking about our times. Elderly Catholic priests have been murdered in Turkey. Coptic Christian women continue to be kidnapped and forcibly converted in Egypt. Moslem Albanians continue to burn Serbian Orthodox churches in Kosovo. One wonders how much longer we Christians will continue to turn the other cheek.

Let us then use the weapons of heaven to assist these Christians living under the Moslem yoke. Let us fill heaven with requests for the continued survival of Christianity in lands under the Moslem yoke.

Never forget the multitudes of Christians (Orthodox, Catholic, Oriental and Assyrian alike) who live in lands where the Mohammedan persecutions make Diocletian look mild by comparison.


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